Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Green Lantern Theory Of Congress And St. Elsewhere

With the shutdown in full swing now is a great time to look back at Matt Yglesias's old idea of the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics. Yglesias coined the idea back in the Bush days to point out the absurdity of the conservative claim that the only thing limiting America in foreign policy was a lack of willpower. In 2009, political scientist Brendan Nyhan pointed out an emerging liberal Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency where Obama could get things like a public option or a much bigger stimulus if only he tried harder. Both cases where of course widely off the mark about how the world works and what is in fact possible.

House Republicans seem to have created a Green Lantern Theory of their own in recent years. Call it the Green Lantern Theory of Congress. Under this theory Congress can force Obama to agree to gut his own healthcare bill and do all sorts of other things as well, as long as they demonstrate a sufficiently strong iron will. Alas this theory doesn't seem to be doing any better in the real world than Bush's one about the Middle East. 


Over at the good men project I talked about how shutting down the government is a goldmine for some conservatives, how the "New Hillary" is turning into the same "Old Hillary" (at least in the press's eyes) of yesteryear, and weighed in on the ongoing food stamp wars.

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